Cowboy Jackpot Series, Book 1
A lucky first kiss in front of a Las Vegas slot machine pays off big for bull rider Boone Hancock and New York college student Gigi Colberg-Staub. During the day they spend together as VIP guests of the casino, an intense attraction develops. Throughout the night they share in the big bed of the comped suite, hot, sensual moves ignite wild climaxes.
When Gigi receives a miscommunication, she believes Boone thinks of her as one-night buckle bunny. She confronts him, but Boone convinces himself it’s best for both of them if she goes on believing that, and he lets her walk out of his life. When he realizes his mistake, and then sees the sacrifice Gigi made for him, is it too late to win her back?
Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas took 1st Place in the GCCRWA Silken Sands Self-Published Star Awards.
See all the winners and finalists at the Gulf Coast Chapter RWA website.
“Buckle bunnies to your left.”
Boone Hancock turned his head at Dallas’ alert.
Two cuties stood at one of the giant slot machines. They both smiled and waved.
Dallas tipped back his cowboy hat. “I’m puttin’ dibs on the redhead.”
Boone glanced at her, but his gaze shot back to the angel with the long black hair and pale skin. Her curves, packed into a petite little body, captured his complete focus. Her slinky purple dress and black spike-heeled sandals shouted she was ready to party.
“Look at those legs.” Dallas raised his hand in a return greeting.
The redhead wore a green dress that showed off her nice breasts and skimmed her thin body. Boone smiled. “You like the tall, leggy ones, buddy. I’m likin’ her girlfriend. She’s a hot little bundle.”
“Let’s get ’em.” Dallas took a step forward.
“Wait.” Boone stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. “Remember, one night. Two at the most.”
“You say that like you mean it, but we promised to keep each other out of the deep shit.”
Dallas looked him square in the eyes. “I learned my lesson the hard way. You don’t have to babysit me.”
Boone had watched Dallas going through hell two months ago with the girl he thought was the one for him. It had affected his buddy’s performance in the arena, and his ability to stay sober.
Boone’s little brother, Jayden, caught up to them and busted in between them. “What’s going on?”
Dallas nodded toward the two girls. “Couple ladies recognized us and want us to come and say howdy.” He flicked the brim of Jaden’s cowboy hat. “Now get lost. They’re both spoken for.”
“Mmm, I’m liking that redhead.” Jayden grinned at her.
Boone looked back at the women. The shorter one—his—waved them over.
“Called dibs.” Dallas hitched up his jeans and headed toward the girls.
Jayden caught up to him. “We’ll see, won’t we.”
Boone quick-stepped and lined up next to his brother. As they got closer, he saw his cutie’s eyes watching him. Hazel. Damn. Beautiful eyes, beautiful face, a body that he needed tight against his. It didn’t take any effort to slide into charming cowboy mode. His body warmed, primed and ready to sweet-talk this little honey ’till her toes curled.
* * * * *
Gieselle Colberg-Staub leaned against the Birthday Baby slot machine, her knees wobbly and her stomach jittering as she watched Boone Hancock walk toward her. “I can’t believe it. They’re actually coming over here.”
Kira twirled a lock of hair around one finger and made a shy smile at the cowboys. “Of course they’re coming over here. How could they resist?”
Gieselle sucked in a calming breath. She’d watched Boone win the bull riding competition this afternoon, and now he—and his big, shiny belt buckle—headed her way. “God, he’s cute.” Shaggy blonde hair touched his collar at the back of his black cowboy hat. A purple and black print western shirt and the sexiest jeans she’d ever seen on a man.
“That big, dark haired hunk is fucking gorgeous.” Kira sipped her vodka tonic.
“That’s Dallas Burns. He came in third in bareback riding today.” She glanced at her friend. “Weren’t you watching?’
Kira sniffed. “You saw that sexy cowboy sitting right behind us. He was worth watching.”
Gieselle had picked up a love of rodeo from her college roommate, but this was the first live event she’d attended. Now the sexy stars she’d drooled over headed straight toward her. She held back a nervous giggle. “Dallas is definitely your type with those dark eyes.”
“Oh, yes, my heart is thumping.” Kira stirred the ice in her drink with the straw. “So, we agree? Dallas for me and Boone for you?”
Gieselle licked her lips. She would let herself go a little crazy this holiday break, because what happens in Vegas, hopefully stays in Vegas. “Agreed.” She squinted. “What about the third one?”
Kira laughed. “Oh, now you’re getting kinky?”
Gieselle sent her a look. “That’s your specialty, girl.”
The cowboys reached them, sauntering up with wicked grins on their faces, like they expected Kira and her to peel down naked and let them have a quickie right here on the casino floor.
Gieselle liked the cockiness.
“Ladies.” Boone touched the brim of his hat. Dallas and the other cowboy did the same.
Kira took a step toward Dallas. “I enjoyed watching you ride today.”
He nodded once. “Thank you. I’m…comin’ back from a dry spell.” He held out his hand. “I’m Dallas Burns.”
She smiled. “Oh, I know who you are.”
Gieselle had to suppress an eye roll.
Boone shifted closer to Gieselle. “I’m Boone Hancock.” His eyes took in the details of her face. “And I’m rightly glad to meet you.” He took her hand.
The tingle of sexual desire raced along her arm and down deep inside, shocking her core with an achy, molten quiver.
His eyes opened a little wider. Had he felt it, too?
“I’m Gieselle Colberg-Staub.” The words came out in a seductive purr.
Boone grinned. “Three names, wow.” He didn’t release her hand. “Where are you from?”
She’d worked for years to obliterate her accent. Had she lapsed into New York English in her excitement? “Manhattan.”
“New York?” He looked deeper into her eyes. “I think you’re the first person I’ve met from there, but if all the women are as beautiful as you, I’ve been missing out.”
She sucked in an uneven breath. Yes, it was a hokey, overused line, but with his blue eyes looking so sincere, it worked for him—and it worked on her. She felt warmth rush her cheeks. “You’re sweet.”
He lifted her hand and kissed it, his mouth lingering a couple seconds, his blue gaze locking with hers. “You’re delicious.”
A double-shot of lust raged through her, and her eyes nearly rolled back in her head.
Kira elbowed her and gave her a warning glance. They’d promised to watch out for each other this vacation, stick together until they felt comfortable that their respective men were harmless and trustworthy. How could her friend tell that Gieselle was nearly ready to drag this cowboy back to the hotel room?
Dallas held out his hand to Gieselle. “Dallas Burns.”
Boone released her hand and she shook the cowboy’s.
“Gieselle Colberg-Staub. Congratulations on your rides today. It’s good to see you back up at the top.”
He blinked, surprise showing in his eyes. “You’re a rodeo fan?”
She took back her hand and nodded. “I’ve been watching it for years, but today was my first live event.”
The third cowboy stepped closer and held out his hand. “Glad to meet you, Miss Gieselle. Once you’ve seen us live, you’ll be addicted for life.” He grinned. “Jayden Hancock.”
She shook his hand as she appraised his face. He resembled his older brother but with curly blond hair and inky blue eyes. “Nice to meet you. You rode barebacks today, right?”
He nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”
“I heard your name and wondered if you were related.”
He stuffed his hands in his jeans pockets. “I don’t like to admit to it, but yeah, I’m related to a bull rider.”
The cowboys and Gieselle laughed, and Kira smiled, her eyes shifting like she didn’t get the joke.
Boone introduced himself to Kira then brought his attention right back to Gieselle. “You look like you could use a drink.”
“Can I buy you a drink?” Dallas and Jayden both asked Kira.
“Mmm hmm.” She smiled and batted her eyes.
Gieselle elbowed her back, giving her a meaningful stare.
Kira ignored her and stepped closer to the two cowboys, out of reach of Gieselle’s elbow.
Boone turned, separating them from the group. “What are you drinking?” His voice rolled slow and sexy, and longing stirred inside her.
“Gin and tonic.” She gestured to the huge slot machine. “Let me finish my credits and maybe…” She glanced at him, deciding how flirty to be.
He set his hand on her bare arm. “Maybe we can find a quiet spot to talk?”
Shivers of excitement coursed through her. “That’d be nice.” It came out on a breath.
She blinked. “What?” How did he know it was her birthday?
He looked at the six-foot tall slot machine. “You’re playing Birthday Baby. I’m guessing it’s your birthday.”
Gieselle nodded. “Tomorrow.”
“Happy birthday, Gieselle.” He said it with such warmth, the words flooded her chest with pleasure.
“Thank you.” She shifted her attention to the slot machine. The count on the credits had gone from 100—from the $100 dollar bill her grandmother had given her to “throw away in some silly machine”—to just five credits. “I haven’t been very lucky.” She pressed the One Credit button three times then grabbed the giant handle on the side and pulled it.
The enormous display showed a seven, a blank, and a birthday cake. Nothing.
“Next one will be it.” He wagged his eyebrows at her.
“I’ll let you pull the last one. Winning the bull riding buckle today, you’re probably full of luck.”
His hand on her bicep slid up and down, as if he were imparting luck with his touch. “Okay. Set it up.”
She pressed the One Credit button twice, but was out of money. Completely. She’d have to hit a cash machine soon. “Oh, well, I guess it’ll have to be two credits.”
“Uh uh. Wait.” Boone released her arm and tugged his wallet out of his back pocket. “We need to do this right.” He pulled a single from a thin supply of cash and slid it into the machine. Hitting the One Credit button, the machine dinged and showed it was fully loaded.
She crossed her fingers. “Good luck.”
He stepped close to her. “I know what will bring us luck.” His eyes locked with hers, his pupils dilating, darkening the blue of his irises. “Trust me?”
Licking her lips, she nodded. “I trust you.”
He put one hand on the big handle on the side of the machine, and the other on her lower back, pulling her closer to him. He tipped his head and pressed his lips to hers.
Waves of heat surged through her. She grasped his biceps to keep from keeling over.
He kissed her gently, with a sweet brush of his lips and a groan from deep in his chest.
When she parted her lips, he stole his tongue inside while jerking down the slot machine’s handle.
Everything went wild inside her as she closed her eyes.
His fingers threaded through her hair, tipping her head at the perfect angle.
The tang of beer lingered on his tongue. She smelled the soap he must have showered with after the rodeo. Pressing her breasts to his chest, her nipples hardened at the warm touch.
Bells went off inside her head and lights flashed against her eyelids as his tongue tickled along hers, and his teeth nipped at her lips. Her pussy lips ached for a touch, a stroke, a fierce release.
“Gieselle!” Kira’s voice cut through the sweet haze. “Look! You won!”
She forced open her eyes as Boone slowed the kiss, opened his eyes, and looked at her with a desire so intense, she would have let him take her right here. Right in front of the dinging, bonging, flashing Birthday Baby…
“What?” She jerked her gaze to the slot.
Lights flashed and bells rang on the machine. The window showed three pink, triple-layer birthday cakes in a row. “Oh my God!”
Boone started laughing. “Damned if that kiss didn’t work!” He glanced at her. “Congratulations, birthday girl!”
She smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck. “This is so exciting. I’ve never won anything before in my life.” She kissed him smack on the lips. “Thank you.”
When she tried to pull away, he tugged her close. “You’re welcome.” He kissed her, quick and hard, but with all the passion of a man who was deep in the clutches of need.
Against her belly, his arousal pressed hot and hard. She nipped his lower lip. “Looks like we’re both going to be lucky today.” The words slid from her lips before she could send them through her anti-trampy filter. Oh, hell, as long as she’d gone that far, she circled her hips against his and gave him her naughtiest smile.
He grinned. “Seven’s my lucky number, so plan on at least that many times.” His hips ground into her once, quickly, before he released her.
The promise of this hard cowboy riding her almost eclipsed the excitement of winning whatever prize she’d hit on the slot. She glanced at the chart below her reel. “Okay, three pink cakes…” It was the top prize. She followed the line to the word “Progressive.” Glancing at Boone, she noticed him looking, too, and asked him, “What’s ‘progressive’?”
He looked up above the machine to a digital display. “I think you won that.” He pointed.
She looked up. “Two hundred and fifty seven thousand, three hundred and twenty five.” Her heart thudded and she met his surprised gaze. “Dollars?”
“Hell, yeah!” He picked her up flat against his front and spun her around three times. “You’re rich!” He set her down, laughing, his eyes sparkling.
She laughed so hard she got the hiccups.
Kira pulled her in for a hug. “Un-fucking believable.” She stepped back and her smile lit her face. “This is so awesome.”
Jayden and Dallas grinned. “Congratulations.”
A cork popped and an employee in a Western-cut tuxedo walked toward them holding a bottle of champagne. A woman in one of the casino’s skimpy cowgirl uniforms followed him, carrying a tray of champagne glasses. “Congratulations, from the Old West Casino, sir.” He looked at Boone.
The cowboy immediately pointed to Gieselle. “This is your winner.”
The tuxedoed man nodded. “How many in your party?”
“Five.” Gieselle’s voice quavered. Was she in shock? Things were suddenly spinning around her.
Boone’s arm slid across her shoulders. “Okay, Gigi?”
Gigi? She nodded. “Just a little stunned, I guess.”
A security guard walked up to the machine. “The manager will be here presently.”
A glass of champagne appeared in Gieselle hand.
Boone, Kira, Dallas, and Jayden lifted their glasses, tapping them on hers.
“To Gigi. May luck always ride right beside you.” Boone winked at her.
His double meaning set a race of desire through her.
Before she could sip, a casino host had her and Boone stand in front of the machine as a photographer took a dozen pictures.
Behind him, Kira used her phone to snap a couple of her own.
The tuxedoed man set the bottle in a silver stand and looked at Boone. “Enjoy your champagne.”
Dallas had the presence of mind to tip the two employees before they walked away.
Boone smacked his friend’s shoulder. “Thanks, buddy.”
Dallas nodded. “Don’t thank me. You’re gonna be paying me back.”
The cowboy laughed. “Still gotta cash my prize check.” He tapped his pocket. “Or we won’t have enough to buy the ladies supper.”
Gieselle shook her head. “I’ll be buying supper. And a limo for all of us to see the city.”
Jayden refilled their glasses. “I’ll drink to that.” Jayden lifted his glass. “To Gigi’s lucky day.” He winked. “And her generosity.”
Gigi, again? Heck, she didn’t care. Gigi did sound better than Gieselle coming from a cowboy’s lips.
They all touched glasses and drank.
Kira, Dallas, and Jayden walked behind her to look at the slot machine.
Boone leaned in for a brief but steamy kiss.
Her body reacted instantly, her nipples puckering and her core jittering with need.
“To our luck, baby.” He looked intently into her eyes. “Both the one-armed bandit and fate bringing us together.”
“Fate.” She liked this guy. Had watched him on television for years, and couldn’t believe her good fortune in finding him. Now they shared the big moment of the jackpot win. Could that be a sign? Would they have more than just one wild night together?
A tired-looking man in a rumpled suit reached them. “Sir?” He held out his hand to Boone.
Her cowboy automatically took it.
“Congratulations. I’m the slot department shift supervisor. If you’ll follow—”
“No.” Boone stepped back. “I’m not the winner.” With his hands on her shoulders, he eased Gieselle forward. “She’s the one who was playing the slot. I just pulled the handle for her.”
The man looked between the two of them. “We did a quick review of the win.” He looked around at the crowd, which had moved in closer to hear. “Let’s go back to my office and straighten this out.”
Gieselle’s heart dropped to her stomach. Crap, was this going to be a problem? She’d already imagined using the money to start her own business instead of having to work for someone else until she had enough to go off on her own.
The casino manager turned and walked away.
“We’ll be in the Roundup Bar.” Dallas gestured over his shoulder. “Kira and I, that is.” He looked at Jayden. “Junior, here, said he had plans.” He lifted his brows. “Right?”
Jayden adopted a cocky grin. “Nope. I got nothin’ to do.” He offered Kira his arm. “I’d be happy to sit and have a drink with you two.”
Kira smiled, took his arm, then took Dallas’s, too. “Take your time,” she threw over her shoulder at Gieselle.
Boone took her hand. “Let’s go get your money.” He smiled at her. “So we can get that fancy meal you promised.”
They walked quickly to catch up to the manager, her anxiety building with each step.
He led them through a nearly invisible door and down a long, brightly lit hallway to a small office. As he sat, he gestured for them to take the guest chairs. “We have the video.” He typed at his keyboard then swiveled to look at a television on the wall.
In slow motion, it showed Boone inserting a dollar in the machine, pressing the button, then grabbing the handle. Watching the kiss they shared brought warmth to Gieselle’s cheeks and heat to her core. Especially in slow motion, the tangle of their lips and arms took sensual to the next level.
She glanced at the manager. He smiled at her. “How long have you two been together?”
She heaved out a breath. “Would you believe we just met?”
He smiled and turned toward to the television where Boone pulled the handle while their kiss went on. “Ma’am, this is Vegas. I believe anything is possible.”
They watched as the three cakes came up, one after another, the lights flashed to life, bells rang, and their kiss went on.
Boone turned in his chair and winked at her.
Gieselle smiled. His presence eased her worry.
The manager stopped the video playback. “So you can see that Mr….” He tipped his head and looked at Boone.
“Boone Hancock,” her cowboy supplied
The man wrote then looked up. “Mr. Hancock is legally the prize winner.”
“But I don’t want it.” Boone took her hand. “I want to give it to her.” His voice sounded as determined as the tightness in his jaw.
Relief washed through her. Boone could have claimed the money, waved goodbye to her, and left Vegas a rich man.
As the manager looked at her, he sighed. “And your name?”
He wrote again. “Here’s the issue.” The manager leaned back in his chair. “There are tax implications here. Ones we can’t legally get around.”
She sat forward in her chair. “Such as?”
He gestured to Boone. “He may be a tax evader, trying to get out of paying—”
Boone sat up, as stiff as new cowboy boots. “I’m a rodeo bull rider.”
Gieselle waited for him to say more, and then snorted as she sucked in air, trying to stifle a laugh. A couple chuckles escaped her.
Boone glared at her.
“Sorry.” She suppressed her smile. “I don’t understand. What does being a bull rider have to do with honesty?”
He stared into her eyes. “I believe in the American dream. I’m going to make it big on the rodeo circuit and I’m going to start my own business based on the name I make for myself. I’d never do anything to jeopardize the future I’ve got ahead of me.” His face softened, became less intense. “One day, I want to hold public office, work for the community, help those that need it, and punish those who deserve it.” He blinked a few times. “I want a family of my own, and a ranch where my kids will learn those same values and ethics.”
“Boone. I…” She swallowed the sudden urge to kiss him, to tell him she believed in him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to laugh.”
A corner of his mouth quirked up. “And I didn’t mean to get all righteous on you, Gigi.” He glanced at the manager. “My apologies.”
The manager’s eyes had lost the tired, bored glaze and now held appreciation. “Mr. Hancock, no need to apologize. And I should be the one to ask your forgiveness for blurting out what may have sounded like an accusation.” He picked up a piece of paper. “I’ll stick to my approved script from now on.” He smiled.
Gieselle wanted to be on her cowboy’s lap, in his arms. But this was neither the time nor the place. This whole jackpot fiasco was spinning out of control. How could she make this work out for both of them?
She turned to the manager. “Could we have a minute, please?” As a plan formulated in her mind, she grew excited to share it with Boone.